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Part 103 Ultralight New Guy

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wbeetle99

New Member
Joined
Sep 28, 2020
Messages
1
Hello All!

New member here, 21 year old Airframe and (soon to be if Covid does not cancel school again) Powerplant mechanic! I am just doing a little research on Part 103 ultralight aircraft. It has been my dream to fly for as long as I can remember, I started out about a year ago flying a Cessna 182 and got about ten hours in before the FAA would not let me have a medical due to a medication that I take. Unfortunately I am not eligible for light sport now either, since my medical was denied, so until I can one day get through the special issuance process and get a medical I am really interested in building a simple and affordable Part 103 ultralight to putt around a small airstrip to satisfy my flying urge. I have been looking specifically at two affordable plans built aircraft: the Legal Eagle and the Airbike. I absolutely love the airbike, it looks like a blast to fly! The Legal Eagle is only interesting to me because it is extremely affordable for an airplane and has a vw powerplant. I grew up working on aircooled volkswagens and have access to plenty of parts and knowledge in the vw world. I was wondering if anyone knew how much the airbike weighed without an engine and if it was possible to make Part 103 weight with a half vw on the front? I really like the idea of a four stroke on an airbike. Two stroke is fine, they just seem to be fairly expensive and I don't have much experience with them. Most pilots and mechanics I talk to are not fond of two strokes on airplanes. Just looking right now, can't start a project till after graduation and my wedding, but I love to learn!

Thanks!
 

Dana

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Apr 3, 2007
Messages
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CT, USA
Welcome!

Nothing inherently wrong with 2-strokes if they're treated correctly, but a 4-stroke burns less fuel and certainly sounds better! If you have VW background than a half VW sounds like a logical choice. I don't know much about the Airbike but I believe a cut case half VW weighs about the same as Cuyuna or Rotax 447.
 

Victor Bravo

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Jul 30, 2014
Messages
7,894
Location
KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
Welcome beetle ! We're glad you're here. The Airbike and the Legal Eagle are both properly designed, relatively safe ultralight airplanes that can meet Part 103. In addition to the open forum discussions, you should also be in direct contact with two of the members here, JohnB and Rockiedog2, both of these gentlemen are very experienced with the Legal Eagle, and have significant experience in aviation overall. Another one of our very experienced members is Pops, who has a lot of direct hands-on experience with the VW for aircraft use. All three of these people will share their knowledge and experience with you, and keep you on a safe path. Another great resource is Les Homan in Northern California, he has built and flown more than one Legal Eagle. There are plenty of other people here who have extremely valuable experience to share as well.
 

GeeZee

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HBA Supporter
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Feb 25, 2019
Messages
105
Location
Indianapolis, IN
provides plans and parts for the airbike. I bought a set of plans from him a few years back and they are first class. The fuse is drawn full size!
 

TFF

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Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
13,675
Location
Memphis, TN
About the only real difference is feet in or feet out. I believe the Legal Eagle was originally a response that the Airbike was kit only and for smoker engines. Now they sell plans for the Airbike, but that’s not how it started. You will have to come up with your own firewall and mount for the 1/2VW, but that’s not a show stopper.
 

pwood66889

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Joined
Feb 10, 2007
Messages
1,698
Location
Sopchoppy, Florida, USA
Dana said it best on 2 vs. 4 cycle. Both are equally reliable if treated like what they are. More points:
* It is a 4-cycle world out there. I have been where one could get correctly premixed 2-cyc fuel; but no more.
* Keep Mission Weight in mind. That equals the weight of the engine plus enough gas to get you where you want to go. 4-cycs are heavier, but take less gas.
* Local expertise is quite valuable. Speaking of .. where you based?
Oh, and lots of luck getting the A&P. It was a heck of a ride for me!
 

radfordc

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Joined
Feb 5, 2008
Messages
1,414
I flew an Airbike for several hundred hours and it is still one of the best planes I've ever flown. But, as to being legal....? Mine had a Rotax 447 and weighed 305 lbs and a top speed of 75 mph. Stalled north of 32mph.

Legal enough for me!
 

cluttonfred

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HBA Supporter
Joined
Feb 13, 2010
Messages
7,713
Location
Fort Walton Beach, Florida, USA
Welcome, wbeetle99, +1 on Ed Fisher's Skylite (now sold by Marc) as they are wonderfully clear plans for a straightforward design that has been proven with two-stroke and half-VW engines. Legal Eagle XL also a great option, I don't know much about the Airbike as a plans-built project. You might also take a look at the Mini-Max as essentially a big model airplane also well-proven and Part 103-legal in the basic model. Cheers, Matthew
 

addicted2climbing

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Jan 27, 2012
Messages
1,114
Location
Glendale, CA
Welcome, wbeetle99, +1 on Ed Fisher's Skylite (now sold by Marc) as they are wonderfully clear plans for a straightforward design that has been proven with two-stroke and half-VW engines. Legal Eagle XL also a great option, I don't know much about the Airbike as a plans-built project. You might also take a look at the Mini-Max as essentially a big model airplane also well-proven and Part 103-legal in the basic model. Cheers, Matthew
Thanks for the +1 Fred...
 
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